Although his company has found great success, the Director and Co-Founder of New Aim, Fung Lam, is a humble leader. When asked what makes a good leader, he reluctantly answers, “It’s difficult to say because no-one is perfect and I’m not good enough, I still have many things to improve. Good is hard to define because I believe if a company is big and has a large overall turnover, the leader must be good.”
Fung says his pursuit as a leader is happiness; that his staff will respect him and have good lives. “I want to help everyone get better and to continue to improve,” he explains. “I’m good at placing people in the right job and hiring people who are better than me to manage a large team. Since the company is large, it can be difficult to manage people but I want everyone to be happy.”
“Since the company is large, it can be difficult to manage people. I want everyone to be happy.”
Going from being an IT graduate to leading a company, Fung had to learn how to manage people. “Data doesn’t have emotion; it doesn’t change what it says. Understanding human behaviour is difficult. You need to understand why people think the way they do. We must be on top of our customers’ thinking, and I must be able to manage our staff.”
Reading leadership resources helped Fung understand the theory behind good leadership but, he says, in the end, you can only really learn through experience. “It’s nothing without experience,” he explains. “You try, and you fail, then you learn something and get better at it. It’s the only way."
New Aim offers customers the best value products. According to its website, it stocks more than 6,500 products from home and office furniture and pet supplies to electronics and tools. To source the right products, Fung must first find the right market.
“In China, you can make many products, from low-end up to high-end. We offer both at their best value,” he says. “We battle researching on the internet in our way. If we find a company we match, we will work with them. We compare the price, compare the quality, and then choose the best one.”
Fung says that “achievements come from taking chances”. When he invested in New Aim with Werner Liu, they were just university graduates who started by selling marked-up products on eBay that they found in two-dollar stores.
Now, according to The Australian Financial Review, the company is valued at A$280 million with a CAGR growth of 44% for the past four years. About a quarter of this revenue came from its eBay store (trading as OzPlaza), where in 2018 it became one of 83 eBay sellers globally to have received more than one million pieces of customer feedback, with 99.4% of them positive. It’s also one of the biggest sellers on Amazon, Catch, Kogan, MyDeal and Temple & Webster.
Fung will continue focusing on growing the company, with his staff and clients in mind. “If the company grows, my staff will have a better life,” he says. “Also, to get better products for my clients. My next focus is also to transition into giant retailers. I want to partner with retailers like Bunnings and Big W. This is our goal.”
New Aim has a 66,000-square-metre warehouse – the biggest warehouse area in pure online players of Australia – thus it’s essential to Fung that he and his business partners, like CBRE and MoneyQuest, communicate and understand each other. “You need to understand them and what they need from you. We work together to come to a win–win agreement. We take time and explain everything in detail. Good communication with our suppliers is essential.”
One of the most exciting parts of the job, Fung says, is that the internet business is continually changing. “Every time change comes, you are going to have new challenges,” he explains. “After your new challenge, you gain understanding and feel better about what you’re doing, then everyone is happy.”
Fung uniquely sees his competitors as his mentors. “If another company is doing something better than me, I can learn from them. So my competitor is my mentor and if my mentor is doing it better, I’ll do better. I can continue to gain knowledge until I’m old and then maybe come away as a different person,” he says. “My job teaches me many things.”
“My competitor is my mentor, and if my mentor is doing it better, I’ll do better.”
Fung’s measure of success has evolved over the years and, today, his priority is a happy family. “My wife helped me so much, not only in our family life but also in this business,” he says.
“She has given me many ideas and I share information with her, we brainstorm and she has helped me decide things. But I find true success is getting home and seeing my children happy. A happy family gives me the energy to keep going. It doesn’t matter how rich you might be, family makes you feel the most successful.”
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